In many situations, landlords need to give a type of notice to their tenants.
If you want to follow industry best practices, send a formal notice via certified mail/return receipt requested, via the US Postal Service. Certified mail is the only proof of delivery that most courts will accept, apart from sending the mail via a registered server.
Here are ten of the most common types of notice landlords need to give tenants, along with the best practices for writing each one.
Ten types of notices
1. Notice of entry/intent to enter
“I will stop by between 2pm and 6pm on Saturday, July 4, to perform the annual inspection and photograph the property.”
Letting your tenant know you’ll be entering the rental unit is of the most common type of notice you’ll give as a landlord.
Most states, but not all, require that landlords give notice before setting foot on the premises. The most common period of time listed in state statutes, and the industry best practice, is 24 hours notice.
You can send “intent to enter” via email or text, but if you don’t get a confirmation from your tenant, send a postal letter, but only if there’s enough time.
2. Notice of repairs, renovations, or power outages
“A contractor will be changing out the electrical panel on Friday, and the power will be out all day.”
This type of notice is often combined with the “notice of entry” notice (above), since a landlord or repair person has to enter the property to perform repairs.
If you will be cutting off essential services––such as water, electricity, or heat––for more than a day, you should consider relocating the tenants to a hotel, at your expense, until the repair is complete. Remember that a rental unit is considered uninhabitable if essential services are shut off.
3. Offer to renew the lease agreement
“Your fixed-term lease is set to expire on MM/DD/YYYY, and I’m pleased to offer you a renewal.”
No matter what kind of additions you’ve made to your lease, most fixed-term leases don’t auto-renew, so the landlord and tenant must sign a renewal agreement in order for the tenancy to continue.
If you want to renew a lease, notify the tenant of the offer 60 to 80 days before the end of their current lease. You want to make sure your tenant has enough time to consider their options and can still give proper notice if they choose not to stay.
4. Notice of decision to not renew the lease
“Your lease or monthly rental agreement is set to expire on MM/DD/YYYY, and a renewal will not be offered. You will be expected to vacate on or before MM/DD/YYYY.”
Any time you want to terminate a periodic lease––whether the lease is daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly––you will send a notice of non-renewal. This type of notice is also commonly called a “no-cause eviction,” because the landlord and tenant can terminate a periodic lease (with proper notice) at any time.
If you have a fixed-term lease, but it auto-renews, and you’d rather it not, then you should use this notice as well.
Every state has laws regulating how much notice is required to end periodic leases. The amount of notice required varies from 7 to 60 days for a monthly lease, so be sure to check out your state laws.
5. Notice of a rent increase
“Your rent will increase to $X, an increase of X%, starting on DATE.”
Raising the rent is tricky. If you raise it too high, your tenants may move out. If you don’t raise it at all, you may lose money due to rising property taxes, inflation, or other expenses.
If you do raise the rent, you need to send proper notice to the tenant, which is usually 30 to 60 days in advance, depending on your state’s laws.
Consider a Cozy Rent Estimate report to help you come up with the best possible rent price.
6. Notice to pay or quit
“Pay your past due rent within X days, or I will terminate your lease and you will have to move out.”
When a tenant doesn’t pay the rent when it’s due and even does not pay it during the grace period, the landlord can send a warning notice that essentially says, “pay your past due rent within X days, or I will terminate your lease and you will have to move out.”
This notice does not give a landlord permission to change the locks or cut off the utilities. Landlords still have to go through the formal eviction process to have tenants removed by the police.
Most states have their own rules on exactly how much notice a landlord must give a tenant in these types of cases. These state laws will help you research your state’s rules.
7. Notice to cure or quit
“Fix the violation within X days, or I will terminate your lease and you will have to move out.”
If a tenant violates a condition, clause, or rule within the lease agreement, a landlord can give notice that says “fix the violation within X days, or I will terminate your lease and you will have to move out.”
The most common lease violations include the tenant alowing unapproved subletters or roommates into the rental, having unapproved pets, and making renovations or changes to the property without first asking for the landlord’s permission.
If the tenant remedies the violation, then you can decide to continue letting them live in the unit.
8. Unconditional quit notice
“Your lease is being terminated in X days because of ____.”
In the previous two notices, a tenant is given a specific number of days to fix whatever problem the landlord is alerting them to.
With this kind of notice, tenants are not given the opportunity to continue living in the rental unit, regardless of whether they’ve fixed the issue or problem prompting the notice.
The most common situations when a landlord serves an unconditional quit notice include:
The tenant being late on rent more than once.
The tenant participating in illegal activity, such as drug dealing, on the premises.
The tenant causing serious damage to the rental property, including damage that cannot be repaired.
The tenant has repeated the offense or violation (including being too noisy, continuing to have a pet they’re not allowed to have at the rental unit, and so on).
An unconditional quit notice is considered to be the most harsh of all the notices, and not all states allow them.
9. Notice of transfer of ownership and/or management
“Effective immediately, I have transferred ownership of the property to Mr. Smith. He, or his agent, will contact you soon to provide instructions for your rent.”
This notice is given in situations in which the landlord sells the rental property to another individual or company. You can also use this type of notice if you change management companies.
A lease doesn’t automatically terminate upon the sale of a property. The lease is transferred to the new owner, and this kind of notice tells the tenant that this has happened. The new owner becomes the new landlord, and the tenant is usually allowed to live in the rental unit throughout the rest of the lease.
You don’t have to give the contact information of the new owner to the tenants. As the new owner of the property, he or she can decide if they want to be an active participant, or a silent investor. You can leave it up to the new owner to make contact with the tenants and to dictate how they want to manage the property.
10. Notice of intent to throw away abandoned personal property
“Come pick up your stuff, or I’m going to sell it/throw it out/put it in storage.”
Laws vary state to state in regards to how landlords are required to deal with the personal property that a tenant abandons: some states require a landlord to send a 30-day letter to the last known address; others allow a landlord to throw out or sell the belongings immediately after the tenant has moved out.